Karnataka high court online education

Karnataka High Court: Interim order on Hijab, reopen educational institutions

February 11, 2022

The Karnataka High Court has issued an interim order in the Hijab row case restraining all students, regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab or carrying religious flags (or the like) within the classrooms until further orders.

The Karnataka High Court is hearing the petitions filed regarding the Hijab row.The order is confined to such of those institutions wherein College Development Committees have prescribed the student dress code or uniform.

Even as this is underway, the state government has clamped prohibitory orders within the radius of 200 metres of the educational institutions.

The High Court which orally read its interim stand on the matter has officially given a written order. The court has also asked that educational institutions be reopened at the earliest. Following violence in some districts across Karnataka, holiday was announced for classes 9-10 and colleges upto February 11. The government on Friday said that schools would reopen on Monday. However, there is no clarity on commencement of in-person classes in colleges yet.

“Firstly, we are pained by the ongoing agitations and closure of educational institutions since the past few days, especially when this Court is seized off this matter and important issues of constitutional significance and of personal law are being seriously debated. It hardly needs to be mentioned that ours is a country of plural cultures, religions and languages.

“Being a secular State, it does not identify itself with any religion as its own. Every citizen has the right to profess and practice any faith of choice, is true. However, such a right not being absolute is susceptible to reasonable restrictions as provided by the Constitution of India. Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part  of essential religious practice of Islam in the light of constitutional guarantees, needs a deeper examination,” the court’s interim order reads. 

The court has said that an endless agitation and closure of educational institutions indefinitely are not “happy things to happen”. The Chief justice has said, “the interest of students would be better served by their returning to the classes than by the continuation of agitations and consequent closure of institutions. The academic year is coming to an end shortly. We hope and trust that all stakeholders and the public at large shall maintain peace and tranquility.

Also read: Karnataka Hijab row: Debates begin across the country

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